When the police pull you over, it can be an extremely stressful situation – especially if they accuse you of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If this happens to you, you’ll probably wonder what kinds of consequences you might face if the prosecution is able to successfully convict you. Can you lose your drivers’ license? How hard will it be to get it back?
When police can suspend your license
When the police officer first pulls you over, they may ask you to take a breathalyzer or other test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). If you refuse to take the test, your drivers’ license will be automatically suspended. You will also face a suspension if you take the test and your BAC is above the legal limit, which is 0.08% for most people.
Note that the law reduces the legal BAC limit to 0.02% if you are under 21 years old. The legal BAC limit is also 0.02% for daycare or school bus drivers, and 0.04% for commercial truck drivers.
If this is your first DUI, your license suspension will likely last 90 days. Upon a second conviction, the suspension increases to one year, and for a third conviction the suspension increases to three years.
Getting your license back
You may feel that your particular circumstances made your license suspension unjust. If you do not want to wait for the suspension period to expire, you have the option of requesting an administrative hearing. You must request the hearing within 10 days of your arrest.
It’s important to note that an administrative hearing is completely separate from any criminal DUI proceedings. If you wish, you can have the same attorney who represents you for your DUI criminal charges represent you at your administrative hearing. If your circumstances justify it, the administrative board may order your license reinstated.
There are many penalties that come with a DUI conviction. With luck, you will hopefully be able to put together a solid defense to the charges to present in court, so that you can avoid long-term license suspension.